Vatican City, 14 July 2014 (VIS) – On Sunday morning the Holy Father sent a video message to patients in Rome's Agostino Gemelli Hospital, in which he apologised for be unable to attend the visit planned for 27 June, cancelled due to an unexpected indisposition. “I extend my apologies not only to the hospital directors but to all those who have worked with such effort and passion. Above all, I include the patients waiting to be able to pray together during the Holy Mass, whom I would have liked to greet personally”.
Francis encouraged the sick to cultivate in prayer “the flavour of the things of God; bear witness that your strength lies in God alone. You who, as patients, experience the frailty of the body, can offer a powerful testimony to those who are near you of how the Gospel and the merciful love of the Father are a precious asset in life, not money or power. Indeed, even when a person is important according to a worldly logic, he is not able to add even one extra day to his own life”.
The Pope commented that the summer vacations were approaching and that many people go on holiday to relax. “However, summer is also a difficult moment especially for the elderly and the sick, who are more likely to remain alone and who encounter greater difficulties in obtaining certain services, especially in big cities. So, this time of repose is also the time in which the difficulties in life can become even greater”. He concluded by highlighting the passion and dedication of the hospital staff, and thanked them warmly for their work. “I truly looked forward to meeting with you but, as you well know, we are not the masters of our own lives and things do not always go to plan. We must accept our frailty. With me, cultivate the trust that our strength lies in God alone. I entrust you to Mary and ask that you continue to pray for me, as I need your prayers”.